Youth athletes return to gameplay across the state

Jessica Miles
Updated: January 14, 2021 06:15 PM
Created: January 14, 2021 04:42 PM

It's been two months since high school athletes have played a game.

After a pause in practices and competition before Thanksgiving, games are back.

"It’s exciting times," Gary Revening, activities director for the Monticello School District, said. "All our athletes and coaches and parents, everyone is excited to be back. It’s a busy place around here."

New guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health mean districts must have documentation of who is attending an event.

MSHSL: Winter sports to return Jan. 14, masks required

"We’re going to allow two spectators per athlete so they are on a list and nobody can come into an event if they are not pre-approved on a list," Revening said.

"We're full of gratitude, we're so grateful to be able to play," said Dawn Gillman, executive director of Let Them Play MN, a group founded in September with the goal of getting students back in action.

Gillman said while there is excitement, there is also hesitation.

Let Them Play surveyed more than 2,600 people over the last week asking players about their experiences practicing with masks.

"Eighty-four percent experienced some dizziness or lightheadedness, 48% were having a hard time breathing or shortness of breath, we had 14 minors collapse during practices," she explained.

Gillman hopes the mask mandate for play and practice can be eased soon.

She said they would also like to visit with Gov. Tim Walz and decision-makers at MDH to discuss the science and data around wearing masks while playing.

For now though, athletes and fans are focusing on the positives of playing.

"There was a buzz at practice yesterday," Revening said. "Kids are ready to go and are looking forward to getting back to competing again. It’ll be a fun night."

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